Mark Lalama Trio
Album: Live A Coppola's
Tracks : 12
As someone whose normal musical preferences lie in a different direction, I was only vaguely aware of the Mark Lalama Trio before this album landed in my inbox. Suffice to say, I am now very definitely a fan.
The opening scene-setter, Wednesday Night, leads in to two tracks which lay the foundations for a great live album. God in the Driveway has an edge to it and the pleading tone of Leave That Guy is very effective. Mark’s keyboard playing is to the fore as usual but the trio are tight and the drums of David Di Renzo and the bass of Rich Moore are perfectly pitched.
The album really hits its stride with the epic Burn Down The Lonely Night. It is lyrically and musically exceptional and is a definite highlight for me. Where Did We Go is harder and edgier but shows the incredible ability of this trio to sound like a much larger ensemble. Unless You Want To is another cracker, starting with a simple piano before the band come in and once again produce that massive sound. I Thought You Knew is plaintive, heartfelt and beautifully performed with the restrained vocal capturing the emotion of the song consummately. The next track, Oh Boy, is the one where the individual talents are showcased. It opens with an incredible drum solo before the bass joins in. The vocals seem incidental and then a masterful keyboard solo gives way to a truly magical bass solo. It is seven minutes of pure theatre. Together Now is a more laid back track. The lyric is beautiful and the simple backing is spot on. It is a genuinely moving song. Working So Hard is a very different track. A raucous opening leads to a driving rhythm that grabs you and demands your attention. The vocals then kick in and the whole thing drives along with an immense energy and passion which leaves you breathless. The penultimate track, Beautiful, is another lyrical masterpiece performed with emotion and subtlety. The album closes with Love and Devotion, a simple and heartfelt one line song with mass audience participation.
Capturing a live performance on an album is never easy but this CD does it magnificently. You can imagine yourself as part of the audience and you are left in no doubt that these three guys were born to play together. They have produced an immense album to prove that point and it is definitely one to have in your collection.